The spirit of choice

Mateo Ortiz Lima, brand ambassador at Flor de Caña, talks all things rum

Mateo Ortiz Lima

How did you come to work in your current role and when did you take up the position?
I started bartending 11 years ago after I left home in Chile. At the beginning it was just a part-time job, but then I started participating in cocktail competitions and travelling the world.

After working for different companies and managing a few bars in Edinburgh, I realised that my passion was education, and I had the right experience and knowledge to fulfil my dream and become a brand ambassador. I have been brand ambassador for Flor de Caña for the last three years.

How much potential do you think there is to grow rum sales in Scotland’s bars and pubs?
The potential to grow rum sales in Scotland is huge. The consumer is willing to try new serves and experience exciting new liquids. Rum is one of the oldest and most diverse spirits in the world, having so much culture and heritage behind it, but more importantly is associated with good memories and fun.

Where do you think the most potential is: cocktails, highballs, neat serves or a bit of all three?
The potential for rum goes across all serves as you will find different styles of rum that are suited for every occasion and venue. When enjoying a younger rum, they are best mixed or served in cocktails or highballs. This is a great way to introduce rum to a younger consumer or an inexperienced palate.

Older rums tend to be served neat to appreciate the liquid but that does not take away from the fact that you can mix it in a sipping or classic cocktail. They say practice makes perfect, so get creative and experiment to see what you like and discover the perfect rum for you.

Gin still seems to be the king of the spirits at the moment. Does rum have a chance of being the ‘next big thing’ in bars?
There certainly has been a boom in gin over the last few years, with more brands, flavours and styles consistently being released. What we know for a fact is that rum sales have not dropped in this period and we see more Scottish rum brands and global brands expanding their portfolios and innovating on flavours and different drink strategies.

This shows us that rum is continuously growing in popularity and becoming the spirit of choice in all seasons.

Consumers are willing to pay more for quality instead of quantity and the rum category is premiumising to enable the consumer to have amazing quality experiences and amazing drinks at a great price.